To Our Baby of the Day Azniv
(May 30, 2008)
Happy birthday Republic and Grandma Vardanyan: First child of the national dream turns 90 on May 28
By Ani Hakobyan
ArmeniaNow Gyumri reporter
Published: 30 May, 2008
May 28 is a special holiday in Armenia, the day of the declaration of the first Republic of Armenia.
This year, on this day, the first “Republic of Armenia” turns 90. So does Gyumri’s Azniv Vardanyan.
Vardanyan was born in 1918 in Spitak region and in fact she is the only person born on the day of the Declaration of the First Republic of Armenia now known to be alive in Armenia. The first child of the centuries old dream of the Armenian people for independence recalls those hard days of her life.
“The years of my childhood were very hard. There was poverty, famine, we were barefooted and naked. I had no father and my mother was forced to have me married very early,” tells Vardanyan, who married at age 14.
Vardanyan’s 8 children, 23 grandchildren and great grandchildren hurry to congratulate her from early in the morning, but she says she does not like much her birthday celebrations.
“This birthday celebration is still for me a novelty, there was no such thing in our times to celebrate the birthday. Very frequently the birthday would pass by and even the ‘new born’ could forget the day. At the beginning people simply could not afford it, and later there was neither time nor interest.”
Vardanyan who has seen and lived in the three republics of Armenia does not remember the good or bad sides of the first republic. She says she was too young then (it only lasted until November 29, 1920, when the Bolsheviks took over).
“I don’t feel whether this new independence was good or bad, it’s the young ones who feel. My children are by my side and I don’t need to make efforts to get something, they do that and provide for me.”
Vardanyan says she is interested in the future of this country because her children live here; she actively participates in all elections to establish leaders of the country.
Vardanyan has spent the greater part of her life in Gyumri always surrounded by her big family. Her sons and grandchildren who live in the same yard with her are always by her side. She is on her land at 7 o’clock in the morning. And her big family is always nearby to help her cultivate her small garden near her house.
“Each morning, if there has been no rain and the soil is dry I come to do weeding, hoe the soil, well, I do something. I used to seed potatoes and greens several years ago, now seed more cucumbers, pumpkin, peas and my very favorite flowers. We also have various fruit trees,” tells Vardanyan hoeing the soil around the newly planted trees.
Vardanyan does not complain of her health. At her age, she says, one needs just one thing: to have all her loved ones by her side.
“Let there be peace in the world, let the young be healthy, let us have good leaders and live happily,” the birthday girl wishes.
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